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Opinions about Smart Tweezers Handheld RCL Meter

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by [email protected], Apr 8, 2005.

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  1. Guest

    I would appreciate your opinions about the following device:

    "Smart Tweezers LCR RCL RLC Meter Digital MultiMeter SMD"

    I found on eBay. Looks like an interesting concept but is it as good as
    the seller tells?
     
  2. Robert Baer

    Robert Baer Guest

    Without a link, to look and evaluate????
    Forgeddit!
     
  3. Guest

  4. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Guest

  5. Robert Baer

    Robert Baer Guest

    1) For the size, Priority Mail Flat Rate is $3.85; the envelope could be
    distorted more by adding padding. As long as one can fit something in
    that envelope and seal it, there is no limit to the weight.
    Theoretically, one could ship about 42 pounds of pure osmimum (the most
    dense element known).
    2) ?Five? digits? Forget it.
    a) Impossible for capacitors and impractical as the best accuracy one
    could possibly find in an SMD capacitor might be 5%. Stray capacitance
    around the probe leads can add anything from 0.2pF to 5-10pF. The PCB,
    the PCB traces, and all parts in parallel with the capacitor to be
    ?measured? can add another 2-20pF on strays alone.
    b) Impossible for non-PCB resistors; maybe 3 digits for the low values
    as the probe is *not* kelvin - and maybe 4 digits for higher values to a
    few megs. If the resistors are on a PCB, then there are too many parts
    that can be in parallel, and the reading can me orders of magnitude off.
    c) Inductors: maybe 2 digits at best in a PCB environment. The stray
    capacitances mentioned previously can royally mess up readings.
    3) Parts sorting - Possible; 3 digits at most.
    **
    Now i see their specs; the best is 1%, which absolutely KILLs 5
    digits and underscores my 3 digit statement above.
    I see the hoopla concerning Ac waveforms, but one must note that
    there is *no* specification concerning AC!

    Good curiosity item, not too good (especially at the price) for
    debugging an assembled PCB as most failures would be in the ICs after
    useage.
     
  6. Guy Macon

    Guy Macon Guest

    The same item is $323.00+$0.00 instead of $254.95+$16.00 here:
    [ http://www.hmcelectronics.com/cgi-bin/scripts/product/3080-0045 ]
    That's $52 less. (Feel free to send me $20 for telling you this :) )

    Or you can simply buy a set of BK Precision TL 8 Tweezer Test Leads
    [ http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/b+k precision/bktestleads.htm#TL-8 ]
    or [ http://www.bkprecision.com/showproduct.asp?pn=TL 8 ].
    for $25 and use a *good* DMM.

    When posting ebay URLs, do it like this:

    You are applying US shipping rates to a Canadian seller.

    $10 is typical shipping and handling for an eBay seller. The person
    doing the shipping doesn't work for nothing, packing material costs
    a bit, etc. $16 for the first one and $5 for the second isn't out of
    line. By comparison, Contact East has these shipping rates for the
    same product at the same price:
    http://www.contacteast.com/product/group.asp?parent_id=11165
    http://www.contacteast.com/help/shipping-rates.asp
    FedEx Ground $10.49
    FedEx 2-Day $17.99
    FedEx Standard Overnight $18.99
    U.S.P.S. Parcel Post $11.99
    U.S.P.S. Priority Mail $20.99
    There are other problems with the spec:

    "DC Voltage: 0 to 800 mV (Up to 8V with
    optional slide switch manual setting)"

    That's a quite low voltage. They don't give maximums (another
    warning sign); will a cap charged to 5V or 12V kill it? I also
    wonder about the claimed 1uH-1H 10pF-900mF ranges.

    There has been some online speculation based on zooming in on the
    JPEG of the board that this item uses and AD9833 / CMOS switch
    to make quadrature phase measurements. If you get one, please
    open it up and post all of the part numbers. With that info,
    any of the sci.electronics.design regulars can tell you the real
    performance specs.
     
  7. Gerhard

    Gerhard Guest

    schreef:
    I bought one. It is a nice peace of equipment, except for the jog dial
    button. Left and right movement are ok, but when pressing it the result
    is completely unpredictable. Therefore it is impossible to set up the
    instrument. And when you eventually get back to the measurement mode,
    you don't know how it is set up.
    I tried to contact the manufacturer, but got no response until now.

    http://www.siborg.com/smarttweezers/ST_Canada_2.htm

    Best regards,

    Gerhard
     
  8. Gerhard

    Gerhard Guest

    schreef:
    I bought one. It is a nice peace of equipment, except for the jog dial
    button. Left and right movement are ok, but when pressing it the result
    is completely unpredictable. Therefore it is impossible to set up the
    instrument. And when you eventually get back to the measurement mode,
    you don't know how it is set up.
    I tried to contact the manufacturer, but got no response until now.

    http://www.siborg.com/smarttweezers/ST_Canada_2.htm

    Best regards,

    Gerhard
     
  9. Gerhard

    Gerhard Guest

    schreef:
    I bought one. It is a nice peace of equipment, except for the jog dial
    button. Left and right movement are ok, but when pressing it the result
    is completely unpredictable. Therefore it is impossible to set up the
    instrument. And when you eventually get back to the measurement mode,
    you don't know how it is set up.
    I tried to contact the manufacturer, but got no response until now.

    http://www.siborg.com/smarttweezers/ST_Canada_2.htm

    Best regards,

    Gerhard
     
  10. I read in sci.electronics.design that Gerhard
    That's good...
    ..... but that would make me war-y.
     
  11. No better than 5%? Then where did all the 1% 100pf SMD caps come
    from I used in Salen Key filters at Microdyne? The design is about
    eight years old and they were off the shelf then. I used a set of test
    tweezers with one of our digital capacitance meters and could not only
    zero out the probe, but read the caps properly.
     

  12. Another impossible to read web page Dark green on a black
    background? Are they crazy?
     
  13. Don Pearce

    Don Pearce Guest

    Really? I get a medium green on a dark background, and it reads rather
    easily. Check your brightness and contrast - they sound misadjusted.

    d

    Pearce Consulting
    http://www.pearce.uk.com
     

  14. Its as bright as I can get it without retrace lines.
     
  15. Glenn

    Glenn Guest

    I bought one too.

    I agree with the previous owner that the jog dial is a bit confusing but
    I think I did manage to figure it out and the unit seems fine for
    identifying all those SMDs laying around under the stereomicroscope that
    would otherwise get tossed because its too much trouble to figure out
    what they are. And that's even with a vector network analyzer and
    benchtop DMM handy...

    The Voltage/Plot mode is probably not of any real use. It's also a pain
    to have to mess with the slide switch to get to it. If I'm doing
    something in-circuit I'll use a benchtop DMM anyway. However the
    auto-range auto-select does seem to do a reasonable job at identify both
    the type and value of the component. Having it all in a tweezer is
    actually fairly useful. The alternative is to try to get a part to hold
    still while you get two probes from a meter on it.

    The Tweezers are not entirely useless on installed components, but of
    course one has to know hwat the circuit is to know how to interperet the
    results. I think their forte is loose SMDs.


    So, all in all, my assessment is that it is a little pricey when you
    consider the functionality apart from the integration, and perhaps a
    little bit so, even then, but that it does prove to be a useful tool.
    I've only used mine a modest amount so far but don't regret buying it.

    Glenn
     
  16. Robert Baer

    Robert Baer Guest

    That Mondo Technology Super Probe is a far better instrument for the
    money, and ther is no hype (no 5 digit display for a 3 digit device).
     
  17. Robert Baer

    Robert Baer Guest

    Must have been specialty parts at a specialty price.
    Ordinary capacitors run from 5% to 20%, and the few 2% caps are wound
    plastics.
    I dare say that the only SMD caps are ceramics, meaning that the
    accuracy is limited by the construction and physics of construction.
    Green ceramic caps change size and shape when fired; cannot get
    around that.
    Now, one *could* test to a tight spec; bin the passes for hi $ and
    the failures for regular sales.
    BTW, do you know the temp curves for X5R, Y5V, etc???
     
  18. Mike Deblis

    Mike Deblis Guest

    have you seen the Peak Electronics LCR tester:

    http://www.peakelec.co.uk/content/products/atlaslcr.html

    They have other nice small test equipment and good prices too...

    Mike
     
  19. Guy Macon

    Guy Macon Guest

    Or you can simply buy a set of BK Precision TL 8 Tweezer Test Leads
    for $25. [ http://www.bkprecision.com/showproduct.asp?pn=TL 8 ]
    [ http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/b+k precision/bktestleads.htm#TL-8 ]

    Or you can simply buy a set of BK Precision TL 8 Tweezer Test Leads
    for $25. [ http://www.bkprecision.com/showproduct.asp?pn=TL 8 ]
    [ http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/b+k precision/bktestleads.htm#TL-8 ]
     
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